New Delhi: BJP`s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi was Thursday mobbed by enthusiastic Indian diaspora members as they crowded around him, tried to get themselves photographed with him while many placed silk scarves around his shoulder.
Delegates at the 12th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, the largest gathering of Indian diaspora in the world, including many from Gujarat, hung on to each word of Modi`s speech at the meet and applauded him lustily.
The hall at Vigyan Bhavan was crowded with many people standing along the aisles to hear the Gujarat chief minister who has been named by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as its prime ministerial candidate for the general elections due in a few months. His speech at a session on Investment Opportunities in States, in which he took a dig at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, had the audience clapping loudly and laughing in agreement.
Modi said the prime minister`s statement to the diaspora Wednesday that there is no need to despair and good times lie ahead would certainly come true in the next few months - in and after the general elections.
Modi, who got a round of applause before he got up to speak and while he was being introduced,
said "the prime minister had said a good thing during his speech here yesterday (Wednesday at the PBD) that there is no need to despair and good times are due to come". He paused, waiting for the laughter and clapping to die down, and said smiling:"I don`t need to say anything more.. we may have to wait a few months, five or six. But I sincerely feel that good times are coming."
His speech on the achievements of the state was given in a booklet form to the audience in advance. An invite to a separate session that he was to address after the speech was also placed for the audience.
On corruption, a question raised by one diaspora participant, Modi said the debate in the country is on "post corruption" or the measures - like Janlokpal and Lokpal - to take to tackle corruption after it has taken place.
"The requirement is that there should not be any corruption, the focus should be on that," he said. He cited the Gujarat experience of putting state policy online in "black and white" as an effective measure to tackle corruption.
"Corruption can be easily tackled, it only needs resolve... the focus should not be on the sickness, but on health and prevention," he said.
After his speech, he was mobbed by diaspora members, many of who were clicking themselves with him, while some placed silken scarves on his shoulder.
With media persons making a scramble to click Modi and looking for a soundbyte along with the push of diaspora members around the chief minister, it was a mad melee. The security persons of Modi had to firmly push away people to make way for the chief minister to walk out of the hall.
Modi did not take any questions from the media as he exited the hall. He also got a lot of written questions from the audience, so many that he remarked it would take him weeks to answer them. To those who had written their emails with the questions he promised he would answer all the queries.
"We Indians abroad are looking for change. We are all supporters of Modi," said a diaspora member from the US.
The other chief ministers who spoke were Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda an Meghalaya`s Mukul Sangma.